Port Vale crashed out of the FA Cup after a frankly awful performance against League Two side Exeter City on Sunday.
Rob Page brought in Ben Purkiss and Remie Streete with Ryan McGivern moving to left-back in place of suspended Carl Dickinson. Youngster Aziz Deen-Conteh was named on the bench as cover.
Exeter started the stronger of the two sides and had the better changes in the opening exchanges. It was pretty much one-way traffic as the home side were unlucky not to take the lead in the opening quarter of an hour.
City finally made one of their chances pay when Jordan Tillson headed home from a corner after 19 minutes. To be fair, it was thoroughly deserved as Vale’s defence failed to defend another set-piece. Exeter thought they had doubled their lead minutes later but it was disallowed for offside.
It was one-way traffic and next Vale were grateful to Alnwick for a fine save as the Valiants somehow kept it down to just the one goal. Despite all Exeter’s dominance, Vale could have got an equaliser just before the break but Leitch-Smith’s drive hit the crossbar. However, that was the sole bright spot from a dreadful first-half performance.
Page kept faith with his starting eleven for the second-half but Exeter nearly doubled their lead after Purkiss made a mistake but the chance went wide. Vale then made an early change with Ikpeazu coming on for Dodds.
Rob Page brought on Sam Kelly for Sam Foley but Vale were still struggling to create any clearcut chances. The Valiants were clearly getting frustrated and Birchall was involved in an angry clash which saw him booked. In the closing stages, striker JJ Hooper was brought on to replace Remie Streete but it was Exeter who sealed a thoroughly deserved win with a late goal from Ollie Watkins.
To be frank, the defeat was all that a woeful Port Vale side deserved as they missed out on a potentially lucrative third round tie.
Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Duffy, Streete (Hooper), McGivern, Grant, O’Connor, Birchall, Foley (Kelly), Dodds (Ikpeazu), Leitch-Smith
Subs: Neal, Yates, Deen-Conteh, Daniel
Attendance: 3,565 (305 away supporters)